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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - November 08, 2006

From: Leander, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks
Title: Winter trimming and shaping of native perennials
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Granted, it's a bit early, but for planning purposes: What is the best care for shrub-like woody perennials, like Lantana, Copper Canyon Daisy, Salvia greggii, Chile Pequin, Eupatorium wrightii, Pavonia? Cut back to the ground? Light shaping? Something in between?

ANSWER:

Something in between is the best plan. At the end of the growing season you can cut these particular plants back by 1/3 to 1/2. However, if there are any berries/fruit left on the plants, you might leave these for the wildlife and trim the plants a bit later—until all the fruits are gone or just before it is time for new growth to form.

 

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